Easter Sunday Joanna Concert & Kamala's B-day
Pre THE-BIG-FOUR-OH festivities I'd picked up a couple shifts for Erica, and so worked Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, doubled Saturday, and then capped the week with Easter Sunday brunch (which was underwhelming truth be told--we'd stacked staff to the hilt but failed to anticipate most Easter folk wouldn't be particularly keen on bar dining, which lopped off a good portion of our business). Because of trabajo I couldn't make it to the Easter/Kamala's birthday celebración en la casa de la mama de la Rama, but I woke up early Easter morn to make birthday and Easter cards respectively for Rom's mom and granny. (I seem to be on a watercolor card-making kick with this bout of Aries b-days--my ma's, Kamala's, and Ram's.) Rama in turn made the cutest springy bulbous bouquets of mini tulips, irises, and daffodils--I'd told Maggie at work what we'd been up to that morning, and she said something like, "God you guys are such nerds," which laughed me.
I had at the conclusion of my work week the best treat--tix to see Joanna at the Fox. I indulged in a mirror-selfie outfit-consult group-text with a handful of my top hoes--the winner: basic black dress, my vintage Chanel earrings I love, Ma's Charles Jordan classic black pumps, a simple black leather clutch that is also me ma's, and a cool weird brocade coat I procured at incredible Shareen's vintage in LA during Teri's bachelorette festivities. Outfit decided, I showered then tidied up the house a bit (while listening to Joanna LPs--I know you're not supposed to listen to The Band before The Show, but it was feeling right). Rama returned from Tibi-wubs and we hustled out the door to grab quick and mediocre sushi at Koryo (Kansai's across-the-street superior, though that isn't saying much). We glugged our sake bombs and bolted our couple rolls, then zipped over to DTO where we lucked into an ideal parking spot on Broadway and 19th.
Out front we came upon Kate and her Ma (who's an acquaintance of Jo's and a good peep of Ryan Francesconi's) and shot the poo with them for a couple minutos, then filed in to claim our seats, which despite (or because of) our rush we were very squarely premature in doing. Robin Pecknold's opening set was, despite his celebrity, in the grand tradition of opening acts not especially compelling. But it was respectfully brief.
I don't usually toot my own toot toot, but I'd proposed Rama borrow a pair of Dave's excellent binoculars for the concert: Game Changer. I had to throughout Joanna's set periodically will myself to unglue the 'nocks from my rapacious eye sockets to pass them over to Rama so he also could experience their yeah bro. Joanna was wearing a red and white deconstructed bandana dress--I'd read her costumes for the tour were custom designed for her by Michael van der Ham, which is neat and all but proved less satisfying for me than tracking nightly presentations from her own formidable and fascinating wardrobe.
The concert was excellent--good sound, no fluff on the setlist, and her voice was as strong (in terms of being both powerful as well as controlled) as I've ever heard it. (I do still like her Ys squeaks best, and there's this indefinable rich warmth as the end of "Kingfisher" on Have One on Me and in "Same Old Man" on Divers I also love.) Her sis and bro were playing in the band, which must've been pretty special for them and theirn and was sweet to see.
We'd grand plans to get a fancee dessert post-concert but decided to scratch that and head home. Next morn we packed it up and out--it was Rama's ma's actual birthday, and we stopped in Tibi to brunch with her and Dave, munching on Kamala's superlative "egg puff" and Dave's legendary Au Gratin potatoes, plus cute little Easter-y melon ball "bird nests" and the flourless choco cake Ramz had ordered from Sweet Adeline. It was a good visit, and then we were on to Nevada City, passing through pleasing patches of storminess en route.
Quick Nevada City Visit
We stopped in Auburn so I could get condish for mah hurrs, then at SPD for burr (Hop Hunter on sale what what), and arrived at the homestead an hour or two before sunset. Richard was glad to see us; Pappy not so much.
We said howdy for a minute, then cracked a a couple brewskies and brought them down to the nursery to scope Rama's plants' progress before the sun got to setting.
Not too much blossomage--NC's springing's a li'l' dilatory compared to the bay's. After Rama'd finished visiting his nursery's inhabitants, we wandered around to peep the rest of the prop.
We'd brought up the record player per Richard's request which he hooked up to his DEE-LUXE speakers, and we passed some pleasant hours playing records (like early all-dude Fleetwood Mac albums--say wha?). I'd also brought up some of my Choicest Vinyl, and while we chatted I employed Richard's magnifying glass scrutinizing the cover of my "Have One On Me."
According to The NYT:
For the cover photo of “Have One on Me,” Newsom dragged many of her belongings into her living room — a stuffed peacock, a leopard-print ottoman, tchotchkes and clothes and rugs and partitions — and arranged them on and around her couch, which sits in front of a wall-hung 18th-century tapestry. It’s a cabinet of curiosities, with Newsom mounted in the middle: stretched out on the sofa wearing a strapless dress and a flapper headband, peering back at the viewer, sphinxlike, with mascara-ringed eyes.
This thrills my sensibilities more than I can say, and naturally the clothes are of particular interest to me. I've taken great (incredibly dorky) satisfaction in identifying different accessories and garments from other photo shoots and concert pics (por ejemplo the pink Christopher Kane dress draped in the top right corner).
We got kinda lazy about dinner and rang up Northridge to order a 'za for pickup--they were 86-ed some crucial Greek ingredients so we decided to order their pesto-y Margherita instead, adding red sauce (vg move). I conked not too long after nomming; a couple hours later Romz joined me in the cama.
The next morn we did our fun little coffee, read, and chat routine. Richard had leftover egg puff and potato, and Rama did the two of us up fried egg and kale. It was very chilly out (no snow though), and Richard wasn't really feeling venturing out to chore it up with Rama as planned, so we all worked on our own little reading and writing projects indoors.
Mid-afternoon we convinced Richard to accompany us to town to lunch at Three Forks, only to find that it was closed (balls!). We decided to hit The Crazy Horse across the street instead, somewhere Richard had spent a lot of time of time back in the day. There we had a pint of Racer each and split an order of arancini to hold us over 'til dinner--not good, with un-thawed icy centers in the first batch they brought.
The memories in the place got Richard to reminiscing, and after I asked a few questions about his childhood, etc. the floodgates busted down and he anecdoted all afternoon and evening--dude could write a long and astonishing memoirs. Lots of living.
I found especially compelling his stories about the two-week-long, totally unchaperoned summer camping trips of his adolescence. He's from Duluth and he and a few other boys, totally sans provisions and parental supervision, would rent a boat, fish all day to feed themselves, and sleep on lake islands at night. One episode particularly struck me, where a trouble-making "farm boy" who'd tagged along with his shitty behavior was threatening the delicate balance of cooperation that was the cornerstone of the boys' surviving the dreamy freedom they'd been afforded. So they tethered the mischief-maker spread-eagled between a couple trees and left him there all day in the hot sun, passing by every few hours in their fishing boat to taunt/check on him. But that wasn't punishment enough apparently--they left slung around his neck a string of dead fish that'd gone uneaten and had begun to spoil. Very Lord of the Flies-esque, with a portion of the ruthlessness but without the frenzy. I guess the farm kid was sweet as pie the rest of their trip; I'm so glad I never had to be a boy.
Pre-dinner prep Romz and I wandered the property in the friscalating dusklight (whatever that means). And now for a profusion of glowy, kinda grainy pics:
Dinner was delish: huge artichokes dipped in vegan aïoli to start, salmon over black beans, rice, and kale. We put on McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Richard's fave Western--the soundtrack's all Leonard Cohen! I fell asleep about halfway through, which wasn't a poor showing for me.
The next morn some we had some nice chatting and huevos rancheros with a really good jalapeño salsa that read more like tomatillo. Ramz and I clipped some manzanita to vase in O-town and hit the road to get my ass back for my Two-Day Work-Week (yes, please).
Rama's B-day Camp-out Part 1: Up North
I have to award myself a couple gold stars here: I was 90% packed the night before we left, and I had also managed to leave the bedroom all squared away (as opposed to the usual flung-about heaps following the trip-prep tornado), and had tidied the common spaces to boot.
Franz had driven up from So-Cal all night Thursday with his gf Britani and his bud Ian so they could head up north with us Friday morning (Maddy and I literally couldn't stop talking about how awesome it was they made it up). So they arrived around four AM to crash out on the couch bed and air mattress we'd left set up, but still managed to leave Oakland with Madz around nine AM. Rama and I made it out a little earlier, and met up with Saul and Tim at the Michael's Sourdough in Petaluma, where I got my requisite tuner sandwich (it seems very unwholesome to eat fish in morning--kippers and fischfrikadellen blegh--but I was famished and dug in at an unseemly hour).
We stopped the caravan at one spot a little north of the Bodega at a wifi hot-spot so I could try to fix a computer thing for Dad on my phone (with dubious success), and I snapped some neat commemorative pics of the bros (I don't have them--was using Tim's phone I think).
Madz, FLM, and co somehow beat us there and had already got down to partying with vino and bier. It was crazy how booked-up campgrounds were when we were trying to plan the thing--I spent a maddening morning trying to make reservations at all kinds of places before synchronicity stepped in with two blessedly adjacent spots left at Romz's and my favorite Salt Point campground. The set-up was downright ideal, and we dragged the two sites' tables together in a social L-shape and pitched our tents to make a crescent-shaped canvas village--FUN.
We embarked on a little group hike action, returning 'round sunset. Rama and I jotted over to the p-lot to pay-phone our moms (#eldestchildren),
then got down on some dinner prep and party-times. It was a really good group, lotsa laffs.
For dinner it was pasta with red sauce and Rama's killer garlick bread.
The next morning (Rama's Birthday!) Saul had to leave very early to get to work; as soon as Rama started stirring I rolled over and grabbed his card (I had tried to render in watercolor white yarrow--wasn't too successful, but at least he recognized what it was supposed to resemble) and his regalo, a plaid shirt from the fancy new denim store near the Drake's Dealership. It was a gamble as it's extremely tricky to choose plaid for R (he has very unpredictable, strong reactions to different plays of pattern and color), but he gave the thumbs-up to this soft, warm, mustardy button-up. We got up, and Ramz stirred the embers to make his trademark morning fire, then started jetboiling/drip coffee-ing java for the crew as peeps emerged piecemeal from their sleepy tents.
Rama's mom makes a point of calling her kiddos at the precise time they were born; since Rama was out of reception I gave him the gate idea to call her at 9:02. And so he popped over to the payphone; when he returned the gang got down to GP-ing.
Rama and Tim had had plans to dawn patrol; that didn't happen, but they were hoping for a morning sesh, and knowing how long that shit can take I figured it made the most sense for us all to roll up to Blackpoint Beach in Sea Ranch and make a proverbial day of it. We gathered together some haphazard pinickables and a lavish quantity of beer (and a couple wines for Brit and Madz), then piled into Madz's Sir Mix-a-Lot and Tim's truck.
We pulled over at one reception hotspot, and with Britani's 6s (that camera kills me) I snapped a couple shots of Franz I liked.
We arrived at the neighborhood Brett had shown Rama to turn into to access Blackpoint and there parked along the same vacant lot/meadow we'd done before, then proceeded down the grassy path to scope out the sitch from the cliff (we left the bulk of the supplies in the car in case the waves didn't look desirable).
After an indeterminate span of time Maddy reckoned she'd charge her phone at the car for a bit so she could have it firing down at the beach (we excitingly had reception) if and when Rama and Tim pulled the trigger. She called a couple minutes later to say that a ranger was at the cars, so Rama scooted off to deal with that. The rest of us (besides Tim who continued the check) headed over to re-convene with Madz and Ramz at the parking lot (yes, there was a p-lot, but Ramz as usual wanted to go rogue) after they moved the illegally parked cars. Luckily the ranger was apparently very nice and let them off with a warning, and once they arrived at the lot we properly unloaded the cars and headed back toward the beach.
And then more check. It might just be the nature of surfing to "check it" for downwards an hour, or this tendency is especially pronounced in AR RA, but I always anticipate a wait. (I think I on the other hand would be a very impetuous surfer--one of the many ways I'd prob suck.)
Finally the kiddos got restless and trooped down to the bee-yotch to commence the 'nicking.
I ran up, down, and all around snapping pics for a while.
Rama and Tim came down at last and suited up.
Franz and Ian decided to wade over to a big ocean rock and scale it "to watch Tim and Rama surf."
Unfortch there was a powerful rip current and Rama and Tim paddling out were dragged to rocky sea up-beach. They got out and trudged back down the sand.
Tim had had enough and very sweetly played with Poundy, who'd as usual been relentless while Rama was in the water.
Rama paddled back out and battled the currents for many more minutes before also giving up and coming back in. We'd eaten very little over the course of the day--a couple bags of potato chips (plus the young'n's had been scarfing a tub of disappointing Target brand cheese puff balls)--and were starved gulls by mid-afternoon. We passed around goat cheese gouda slices on crackers, and the others split a package of TJs smoked salmon (to Tim's dismay Poundo snatched Tim's last salmon hunk right out of his hand).
Then back to camp. Ally arrived and we packed up a blanket and some bottles of bub and trooped out to Rama's and my special sunset spot.
Not to get all Hallmark, but it was so wonderful to share our Special Spot with loved ones--everyone was flummoxed at the garge-ness and magicalnessossity of the place. I have very few songs on my phone, but they were the right ones, and we toasted Rama and bubbed and chatted and watched the light move over sky and sea and just generally savored the perfection of the vibe and scene.
At dusk we headed back to camp; Liz and Peter and Eric and Tanya (with their INSANELY QUICHE vintage trailer) had arrived. Rama and I set to work on the mushroom, potato, potato and chicken taco extravaganza. Tanya brought out batches of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies (#trailerperks) to hold people over, and then did animal cards for everyone.
After eventual taco chowing we lit up the birthday lemon tart from Sweet Addie's (big thank you to Ally for picking it up!), though at that point it was so late (or at least felt like it--thanks Day Drinking!) and peeps were so stuffed it didn't get a lot of play.
Then into the tents (and trailer)!
I don't think anyone was hurting too badly the next day. Rama and I woke up on the early end and zoomed over to the wee nearby store to get some more fuel for the burner so the camp's fast could be broken. Wouldn't ya know it the store didn't open for another twenty minutes, so we reclined our seats and chilled for a few until the grumpy proprietress unlocked the door, then grabbed some fuel and I got a cup of objectively crappy coffee (though I really don't mind weak coffee and actually prefer it to fancy hip "good" coffee that makes feel like skittery electricity where my hands might shatter on anything they touch).
Back at camp more folks had emerged; Rama started his Morning Fire TM, and Liz and Ally cracked their books beside it.
Poundy snoozed in his taco,
and Rama got the coffee train going while I heated up the frosting for the "orange traveling cake" Mom had adorably sent up, which I laid that out with the previous night's lemon tart so peeps could sweetie while we prepped the eat-y.
Not to toot my own again, but when we were menu-planning I'd had the inspired idea to use taco night leftovers plus eggs to comprise the next morning's breakfast. Rama made an insane chilaquiles-esque scramble by the slicing up and tossing in the remaining fried potato tacos; I did all the prep I could, then let the chef execute his vision,
busying myself deep-organizing the chaotic car (I'm very adept at sorting messes, which has been a lifelong compulsion, love/hate, blessing/curse).
Peeps departed, Madz back to Oakland with Franz, Brit, and Ian, Ally to a lunch in SF, Liz and Peter to tour the area. Rama and I cleaned up camp and hung out for a while with Eric and Tanya (who were staying another night), then at last hit the road. We had a plan to go up to Sea Ranch but Rama caught a glimpse of Secrets breaking from the road, and so we decided to peep that first.
We grabbed apples, a delicious crumbly aged cheddar, and a couple beers and proceeded to the cliff. It was springy and gorgeous.
The waves looked good. Rama wanted P and me to go down to the beach with him so he could keep an eye on us in case of creeps, but I wanted to stay on the cliff so I could watch him surf. I took P "on a walk" while Rama descended the cliff to try to minimize P's insanity. It kind of worked...
P of course kept diligent watch the entire time, but wasn't too shouty. More whiny than anything.
I tried to simultaneously read and take faraway grainy zoomed-in phone photos of Rama catching waves (for his and only his enjoyment), with dubious success on both counts.
P smelled R before he could see him.
R'd had a ball; he said it was like Deadman's without the other guys.
Then some beer and cheese and a little chill time. We'd felt rushed by the waning day, and then Rama made the very astute assessment that we were "on vaycay" and shouldn't tweak.
We departed after a bit,
then zipped up to Sea Ranch for a sec. I found one of those sweet "rose" pine cones and added it to the little altar of offerings in the chapel, with some wishes.
For dinner we split "the big bowl" of clam chowder at Lucas Wharf (aka the restaurant in Bodega with the enormous Charlie Brown statue out front) with some sourdough. Crazily the big bowl cost like $5 less than two regular bowls, and according to our server contained more soup. It left us very satisfied, though Rama did after his last bread swab wonder aloud if he could kill a big boy on his own. #bowlgoals
Back to Oakland for the night to re-group, then on down to Big Sur the next day!